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Step through the large wooden entrance portal of Villa Sayang d’Amour and close your eyes for one second. Open them again and you might just believe that you have been transported – by magic carpet – from an ordinary residential street in Bali’s Petitenget area to a magnificent Moroccan Palace on the other side of the world.
With its Moorish-inspired contemporary architecture, exquisitely-ornate interiors, lavish furnishings and Moroccan artefacts, this grand pad offers both a sensuous design experience and a fabulous escape. Here, handsomely patterned tiled floors, camber windows fitted with bevelled glass, towering carved doors, archways and alcoves are complemented by mirrored tables, hanging lanterns and wall sconces, copper coffee pots and embroidered cushions. A mixture of shabby-chic antiques and modern-chic leather furnishings add an extra measure of Moroccan opulence, while purple, aquamarine and blue accents underscore the effect.
Sayang d’Amour – Sayang means darling and Amour offers a clue as to the nationality of the villa’s owners – is a rare treasure trove; the attention to detail and the immaculate top-quality finishing is incredible. You could spend a month in this property and still continue to be struck by the decorative embellishments. The six bedrooms, each one linked by a thick velvet curtain to its own, private, opulent bathing room, all remain havens of calm with netted beds and gentle lighting. A choice of indoor and outdoor living areas includes an air-conditioned study/TV lounge and a beguiling rooftop lounge, terraces and balconies, as well as the impressive living and dining room and a gourmet kitchen. The artfully arranged garden introduces a rich royal purple theme within its outdoor furniture, while the shadows of the frangipani trees twist over a swimming pool of cobalt blue tiles. At night there is a different, more mysterious ambiance. In fact, with so much mystique, you might just believe you’ve been trapped in a mirage.
Yet there is no ambiguity when it comes to the service and the facilities. Ideal for groups of friends, families with children, or as a dazzling wedding/event venue, Sayang d’Amour is staffed by an efficient team, including a chef who will cater to all your culinary requirements and a complimentary car and driver.
From the villa’s gate, a two-minute stroll brings you onto Jalan Petitenget and the marvellous Sarong restaurant (booking in advance is essential). Within a kilometre, you will find numerous other restaurants, including Merah Putin for upmarket Indonesian cuisine, Bonita for a cheap and cheerful selection of Indonesian dishes, Mantra for a vegetarian and seafood selection, Dahana offering Japanese cuisine, Biku offering Asian delights, the famous Ku De Ta and Potato Head beachclubs, the classy W Retreat with a choice of fine dining restaurants and wonderful Sunday brunches, and the long-established, beachside La Lucciola. Petitenget Beach is the northern extension of the sweeping Seminyak Beach, offering awesome sunset views and wonderful walks in both directions all the way to Kuta or Canggu, complemented by the many beachside cafes and restaurants en route. For nightlife check out Mint, and for shopping there are numerous boutiques within walking distance and beyond. The nearby Pepito’s supermarket is good for provisioning, ATMs are nearby and easy to find, and taxis cruise by continuously.
A few kilometres north west of Kuta, Seminyak is a hip and happening district which has long been the lure of bohemians and jetsetters. This is Bali’s late-night party land, laying claim to the highest concentration of independent fine-dining restaurants and beach clubs on the island, including Ku Dé Ta, Potato Head, Mozaic, Cocoon, La Lucciola, Sarong, Métis and Sardine. Seminyak also boasts a plethora of chic cocktail bars, sumptuous spas and fashionable boutiques.
Seminyak Beach is the place where the local and expat communities gather every evening at sunset. A playground of the rich, the famous and the bon vivants, the vibrant nightlife and luxurious accommodation of Seminyak draws a sophisticated crowd of ‘beautiful people’, especially Europeans.
Nearby sporting facilities include the Canggu Club (of which many holiday villas in the area include guest membership), offering social and leisure amenities, including a state-of-the art gym, a 25m swimming pool and a tennis and squash centre. For horse lovers, three riding stables are located at nearby Canggu – Kuda P, Tarukan, and Bali Equestrian Centre. Nirwana Golf Course – designed by Greg Norman and renowned as one of the best golf courses in Asia – lies about 20km up the coast beside the dramatic, waved-lashed sea temple of Tanah Lot. Seminyak is also convenient for all of Bali’s main shops, shopping malls, Waterbom Park, and many tourist attractions.
Bali is Indonesia’s most popular tourist location and is considered one of Asia’s premier tropical island destinations. Steeped in history and renowned for its artistic way of life, Bali is a peaceful contrast to some of the more frantic destinations Asia has to offer.
The inner peace and creative talents of the Balinese has attracted artists the world over fascinated by local dancers, silversmiths, wood carvers, potters and painters that seem to pervade throughout the island. The abundant verdant fields and surrounding sea have long supplied Bali with an easy surplus of food leaving time for life’s more artistic past times. As a result everything in Bali has a creative and religious element centred around the local Banjar (residents association) – little, adorned temples are everywhere, doors are covered in intricate carvings, huge kites ward off evil spirits and colourful roadside ceremonies bring traffic to a standstill.
Bali is a popular destination principally from Australia and Asia but also from all over Europe. The island welcomes thousands of visitors each year to a relaxing lifestyle, stunning beaches, world class surf, vibrant villages, and spectacular scenery all with an exquisite tropical climate. Located approximately two hours’ flying time from Singapore the island is serviced by an international airport at Denpasar with direct flights to and from many major cities in Asia, Europe and Australia and many more via Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital.
The island offers an impressive range of leisure and lifestyle amenities including world-class golf courses, wonderful seascapes for surfing, diving and snorkelling as well as luxurious spas, chic boutiques, tropical forests, towering volcanoes and international cuisine.
Overall Rating: 8.70
Sayang d’Amour is a veritable palace, and can’t fail to please. If you like opulence and grandeur, the colour purple, intricate detailing, Moorish arches, palatial bedrooms, indulgent bathing facilities, an astounding collection of objets d’art, a stellar kitchen, discreet staff, and plenty of activities and games for the kids, all just a short walk from the beach and Bali’s best restaurants, then perhaps you should stop your villa search and push “book Villa Sayang d’Amour” right now.
It took us ages to tour the villa simply because there is so much visual distraction (in the best possible way). Curiosity forced us to take the long and lingering roundabout route through the main house via the kitchen, living and dining room, and office/TV room, taking in all the detailing, the furnishings and décor (including hundreds of Moroccan-styled floor tiles) before we even reached the garden. Eighty percent of the materials, furnishings and artefacts have been imported from Morocco by the French owners to recreate a private fantasy surrounded by high walls, so while it may be true that the villa doesn’t have much of a connection with Bali, it’s fun to fantasise!
And although there is a chef on hand to work magic in that gourmet kitchen, being positioned in Petitenget means that some of the best restaurants in (dare we say) Asia are literally within easy walking distance. Having the super stylish W Retreat and Potato Head Beachclub as neighbours gives you the (again walking distance) choice to hang out with the movers and shakers and catch the beachclub vibe – should the privacy of your palace prove too much.
At the time of our visit (June 2013) the villa was still very new and the staff not quite up to the slick standard that you might expect from a property of this calibre. But it is early days, and from what we saw we expect they will achieve service of the highest level before too long.
Sleeping Capacity: 12
The villa sits on 3,000sqm of land, and comprises three buildings arranged on two sides of a 20x5m pool. The main house incorporates a central living/dining room with integrated kitchen, and a separate, air-conditioned office/TV room with 56-inch TV/DVD player, a library of (mainly French) movies, deep leather sofas, and a desk with Apple Mac computer and scanner/printer/photocopier for guest use. Two staircases sweep up to a rooftop sunset lounge, where a thatched gazebo is furnished with a cushioned sofa and a table for alfresco dining. The area is protected by a wrought iron fence for safety. At each end of the main house are two double-storey sleeping pavilions (the upper floor bedrooms are accessible by both internal and external staircases). The two downstairs bedrooms are entered via private garden verandas. The remaining two bedrooms are housed in single-storey stand-alone pavilions on the opposite side of the pool.
The living/dining room opens widely to the garden, but folding glass doors can be closed for air-conditioned comfort; this room features an eclectic choice of sitting areas including a kids’ table and chairs. A dining table for 12 is positioned on one side where there is also a kitchen service bar with five high bar chairs. The fully-equipped designer kitchen has a central island, oven, hobs and everything else the chef needs.
The expansive flat lawns are dotted with palms and filled with flowering trees and shrubs, with the swimming pool as the centrepiece. All-weather tables and chairs are arranged on one side of the pool, with purple cushions and purple umbrellas. Sunbeds await on the other side and each bedroom has a personal veranda, terrace or balcony furnished with more comfy purple-cushioned chairs. The pool has a kids’ area at one end, while a children’s wooden playhouse offers another place for fun.
Two sets of double-leafed doors lead into each air-conditioned bedroom. Equipped with a 40-inch satellite-channel TV/DVD player, iPod dock, safe and mini-fridge, each room has a sleeping and sitting area, a dressing area and a bathroom. Bed configurations range from twin doubles in two of the rooms to king beds in the others. Each air-conditioned bathing area has a freestanding bathtub, twin pedestal washbasins, a walk-in rainshower and a toilet behind wooden doors. Bathroom floors blend floorboards and colourfully patterned Moroccan-style tiles. The master suite is enormous with several sitting areas and some fascinating artefacts.
|Bedroom 1 – Garden Master
|Bedroom 2 – Garden Guest
|Bedroom 3 – Upstairs Guest
|Bedroom 4 – Upstairs Guest
|Bedroom 5 – Downstairs Guest
|Bedroom 6 – Downstairs Guest
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